Urban Fold

Progressive Incoherence in 'Radical' Berkeley

Everybody's a progressive in Berkeley, right? As recent struggles over land use make clear, it depends on what you mean by "progressive."

Debunking the reputation of Berkeley, California, as a prime bastion of the American left, Zelda Bronstein describes the rightward turn inside city hall, political disengagement outside it, and ideological disarray all around that now characterize the town’s public life.

To illustrate these conditions, she examines two intense struggles over land use—the first centered on the University of California’s push into the city’s downtown and its western neighborhoods, the second focused on the activities of the city’s new downtown property-based improvement district. Each dispute was embodied in a controversial city ballot measure in the November 2012 elections.

Bronstein goes on to suggest that key tensions in current Berkeley politics “flesh out uncertainties if not downright disagreements among American progressives” over “growth,” environmentalism, U.S. manufacturing, homelessness and public employee compensation. 

Full Story: Progressive Incoherence in "Radical" Berkeley


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